A solar system test of self-interacting dark matter

Cristian Gaidau, Jessie Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dark matter (DM) self-interactions affect the gravitational capture of DM in the Sun and Earth differently as a simple consequence of the differing kinematics of collisions within the two potential wells: the dominant effect of self-interactions in the Sun is to provide an additional channel for capture, while the dominant effect in the Earth is to eject previously captured DM. We point out that this simple observation can be used to deduce the existence of DM self-interactions by comparing the annihilation rates of DM gravitationally bound within the Sun and Earth. We compute the Sun and Earth annihilation fluxes for DM with spin-independent nuclear cross-sections and thermal annihilation cross-sections and demonstrate that, for cross-sections allowed by direct detection, self-interactions can easily suppress the expected Earth flux by multiple orders of magnitude. This suppression is potentially significant even for self-interaction cross-sections orders of magnitude below the Bullet Cluster bounds, making this solar system comparison a leading test of dark matter self-interactions. Additionally, we consider thermalization of the captured DM population with the nuclei of the capturing body in some detail, accounting for both nuclear and self-interactions, and point out some consequential and broadly applicable considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 10 2019


  • Dark matter theory
  • Solar physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'A solar system test of self-interacting dark matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this